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Monday, August 31, 2009

Rudder/VS Final Sanding

I put 4 hours in this weekend on the VS/Rudder final sanding. It takes about as long as everyone complains about on their sites.. ;-) I started with some light weight fiberglass along the seem between the metal and the fairing (which also covered up the pop rivets nicely)to hopefully add strength and reduce any possibility of cracks in the final paint along the seam. Then mixed the West Marine System epoxy with microlight filler to start building up the low spots. Sanded, then build up the low spots again.. The pic is the filler in place after the second time I added filler. I think in this case 3rd time will be a charm. After this gets sanded down I should be just about wrapped up. I will wait on the Elevators and HS until I hit a slow spot on the wing project.

Friday, August 28, 2009

FedEx Called !

Wing kit delivery is scheduled from 3-7pm on Monday Aug 31st. Looking forward to seeing what comes out of the crates. Will keep everyone posted ! Thx

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wings Delayed - Continued fiberglass

I sent a message to Van's asking about my wings and they indicated they were delayed. I would have hoped they would tell me proactively, but they only told me in reply to my query. It seems they ran out of some skins so I should be expecting the call from FedEx this Friday or more likely next week. The two week delay is OK though because it gave me time to finish all the tips on the Emp, other than the task of filling and sanding the joints.

At this point I have all tips riveted on and the ends closed out. I may try to fill the joints at least on the Rudder and Vertical Stabilizer before the wings come. This task will take lots of time and repetition. After cleaning and scuffing all surfaces, I mix epoxy with some microlight filler which turns into a peanut butter consistency. Then like Bondo on cars, I fill any holes, joints, or gaps.. Once dry I sand, then do it again and again until I have a completely smooth contour between the Rudder tip and the Vertical Stab. Look for pics over the next few days, but as soon as the wings get here, this all stops until a later date..

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Misc Emp items while I wait for wings

Ok, the wings didn't get here last week so hopefully I will get a call from Fed Ex on tomorrow for delivery. I ended up doing some unplanned items on the Emp Since I had some spare time. Gave me some additional fiberglass practice and also got me just that much further along.

First I closed out the HS tips with Balsa and fiberglass which ended up being easier than I expected. Working with Glass and Fiber was kind of cool since all work to date has been with aluminum. I made a template out of cardboard, then cut the balsa, then sanded it to fit smoothly. Once I test fit it, glued it in and then put reinforcement behind it. Was really happy how it turned out.

I also final drilled the center of the elevators using a bushing I found at Lowes for .58 cents.. Was quite hard final drilling through the steel on the control arms, but was able to get it done and it turned out pretty nice. No binding as the elevators move up and down.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Empennage gets set aside for now..

I finished working on the Emp for a while, wings should be here this week and I need to get ready. I was able to close out the rudder and both elevators with final rivets. I haven't closed out the Horizontal Stab or Fin yet since I will need to do some additional work with Balsa, or foam to fully close out the fairing. But for now I have a good start on it and can work on the tips during other slow parts of the build.

I also torqued all nuts on the Emp last night and played with Torque Seal for the first time. (Didn't use torque seal on the rudder, but did torque the counterbalance) I think I got this all figured out. My understanding is that you don't put the torque seal on the treads of the bolt, only the nut, washers, and back plate. I had to torque the elevator counterbalance before closing the tip since you can't reach it after words.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Fiberglass..

Worked on all the tips last night. The Rudder tip is the first one to be permanently riveted as you can see in the pic. All that is left for this one is filler and sanding then more filler and more sanding. The HS and Elevator tips are all cut and ready to be mounted but they need to be closed out first. This piece might not happen in the short term since the wings should be here next week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Continued Empennage Tips

Tonight I continued working on the empennage tips. More cutting, drilling, and sanding. The rudder tip is almost complete, just final drill and then pop rivet. You can see how I am putting sheet metal in for the rivets to grab onto. Also, Finished drilling and adding the metal strip to the right elevator. Tomorrow will work on the left one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fiberglass Tips

Today I started making progress on the fiberglass tips for the Elevators and Horizontal Stabilizer. I won't get them totally complete by the time the wings come, but will at least get them drilled and in place. Here is the general process for the tips...

1) Ensure the fiberglass flange isn't too long, as it can't be resting internally on any substructure.

2) Cut to General Shape.. best tool for this is a pneumatic die grinder with a cutoff wheel.

3) Pilot Drill into the proper location

4) Epoxy the interior with aluminum strips over pilot holes to give the pop rivets something to grab.

5) Final Drill, Countersink Tips, Dimple skins

6) Close off open areas of the VS and HS Tips with Epoxy/Balsa.. More info on that will be coming.

7) Fill surface cracks and sand, Fill and Sand, Fill and Sand, etc... until smooth..

Monday, August 10, 2009

Trim Tab - Victory !

OK, I know I don't have pics of all the detailed work going into it, but this weekend I was able to crank out a perfect trim tab. Here are some pics of the finished product. I found out that the twist in the tab is fully dependant on the folded tabs where the pop rivets go. Don't drill the holes until you have it mounted on the Elevator and can twist to make sure it is straight with the trailing edge. Then drill the holes and install the pop rivets. This is done after the bottom of the trim tab spar is riveted in place. The tab can twist ever so slightly but makes a big different with alignment when it is done, and if you don't get it right will not align with the trailing edge.

Wings come next week and will give me just enough time to work out some of the fiberglass tips on the Emp..

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trim Tab

Spent a couple of hours on the trim tab, mainly working on getting the bends exact. You can see in the picture how I used a piece of Iron Wood (IPE) in a vice to support the tab. The bends came out really good, now lets just see if I can keep this trim tab straight as it goes together.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Still Here

Don't give up on me.. I am still here, just not making progress by leaps and bounds right now. Waiting on the wings and slowly working on items in the garage. Been so hot in Seattle these days, can't stand to be out there for more than a few minutes at a time. I am aligning the elevators on the HS, trimming some excess skin and getting ready to final drill the root ends of each Elevator.

I have to confess, the first trim Tab I but together came out with the trailing edge not square, so I am onto my second tab like so many other builders. Will get some pics of that as I get it together..

Rebekah is heading out of country in the next couple weeks so expect some fast and furious progress and lots of updates.

Places we have been in our RV-7 ! (Blue 2013, Yellow 2014, Green 2015, Purple 2016, Red 2017)